Cybersecurity's Leaky Dikes

Wednesday, 3 July 2002, 1:38 AM EST

As head of the National Infrastructure Protection Center's office in Pittsburgh, FBI supervisory agent Dan Larkin mans a sentinel post on the front lines of the war against cybercrime. Rather than M-16s, his soldiers tote powerful computers, which they use to unmask hackers who break into networks and steal valuable information. They also try to intercept so-called script kiddies, who launch damaging denial-of-service attacks that flood Web servers with bogus queries and freeze company online operations.

Rising interest in cybersecurity, spurred in part by the terrorist attacks of September 11, has vaulted Larkin and his 110 FBI cohorts staffing the NIPC into a much more visible role. Only problem is, the demands on them have outrun the capability of the tools available to do the best job possible.

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